Harry Bot-air

SFX - - Reviews -

The fi­nal line in Swiss Army Man is “What the fuck?!” It’ll no doubt res­onate with au­di­ences, who’ll likely be ques­tion­ing what the hell they’ve just seen.

The first fea­ture from di­rec­tors Daniel Schein­ert and Dan Kwan, Swiss Army Man lays out its stall from the get-go. Hank (Paul Dano) is stranded on an is­land. Re­signed to his doom, he’s on the brink of sui­cide when a corpse (Daniel Rad­cliffe) washes ashore, of­fer­ing a chance of sal­va­tion. The Swiss Army Man of the ti­tle, Manny’s use­ful­ness is re­vealed in­stantly: his flat­u­lence pro­pels him through the wa­ter, and Hank rides him like a jet ski. When they hit dry land the bro­mance starts, as the pair make their way to­wards Hank’s home.

As stiff, mo­tion­less corpse Manny, Rad­cliffe de­liv­ers an im­pres­sive phys­i­cal per­for­mance. It’s an­other bold post-Pot­ter move that helps demon­strate his con­sid­er­able range.

Through the course of their trav­els, Hank fills Manny in on his lonely life, and the girl he car­ries an un­re­quited love for, of­ten us­ing hand­made pup­pets and models to il­lus­trate his points. It’s a kooky touch, but one that works in the con­text of the gen­er­ally sur­real tone. And as Manny slowly learns about life and love (mak­ing him a more in­ter­est­ing up­date on Franken­stein’s mon­ster than Rad­cliffe’s re­cent box of­fice bomb), the crude hu­mour is given heart­felt con­text. It’ll be a lit­tle too gross for cer­tain tastes, but go with it and you’ll be re­warded with some­thing deeper and more per­sonal than your stan­dard frat­boy com­edy.

As their jour­ney goes on, and Manny proves to have even more skills, the ab­surd laughs come thick and fast, but it’s the emerg­ing friend­ship that sticks with you more than the ridicu­lous im­ages. By the end of the film, you may even just find your­self be­ing moved by a fart gag. WTF in­deed. Matt May­tum

Skinny Dave stood up and ru­ined an­other photo.

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